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Original Title:
Who are you

South Korea 2002


Choi Ho

Cho Seung-woo
Lee Na-yeong
Jo Eun-ji
Lee Jang-won

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Who are you

Story: Hyung-tae (Cho Seung-woo) is one of the developers of the Online-Dating Game "Who are you". His company starts to run out of money, and more and more employees jump off. The game enters the crucial beta-phase, which Byulee also attends to. In reality Byulee is In-ju (Lee Na-yeong), who works at a "Sea World Aquarium". Byulee has Mello as her partner whom she confides her secrets to, after a while. For Byulee it's her first friend she can talk to openly. And Mello is no one else than Hyung-tae.
In-ju and Hyung-tae also happen to come across each other in real life, since they work in the same office building. In contrast to his virtual alter Ego, Hyung-tae does a lot wrong when meeting with In-ju and so as Mello he has to hear In-ju's criticism about him. However, the time has come when Hyung-tae has to tell her that he actually is Mello. But how is he supposed to?

Review: Yep, it's time again for another Korean romance. This time the focus is the internet and chatting. Parallels to "You've got mail" can't be denied, but luckily "Who are you" is not a romance that goes for some cheap tears, but instead delivers some interestingly believable characters. A little bit of drama and romance isn't missing, yet fortunately, there is no kitsch or exaggerated melodramatics. That's also the reason, why I can watch some of these movies every now and then. Especially, since "Who are you" shines with a good presentation and some nice ideas.

As the movie is nearly completely about an Online-Dating-Game, we also get to see much of the game. The world of the game reminds us a little bit of "The Sims". With a lot of well done animations the whole chatting thing gets a special charisma and doesn't get lost in some boring text-messaging.
The fact, that the game is never standing in the spotlight, although omnipresent, and that instead the focus is on the characters is also a pretty good choice. The individual characters are all elaborated very well and will keep the viewer interested.

Cho Seung-woo is the game designer Hyung-tae, who nearly spends the whole day in his game design studio putting all his eggs into one basket, namely the game "Who are you". If the game doesn't become a hit, Hyung-tae will have to sleep on the street. Yet, although he is quite aware of that, that's no reason for him to panic. He is a rather positive person, who doesn't get disconcerted so easily. His only problem is, that he is not able to tell In-ju the things which come so naturally to him when being "Mello".
Lee Na-yeong as In-ju doesn't just look good, but can also convince with her acting. She bestows her character with intensity and manages it to be very believable. As a former professional swimmer, who lost her hearing and now has to manage her everyday life with the help of an acoustic aid, she can't stand it if people pity her or try to behave sorrowful in front of her. Here you won't get your typical going-for-some-tears thing, but the focus is on real emotions and relationships.
Jo Eun-ji and Lee Jang-won do a good job as the supporting cast, too, and every now and then they are also responsible for some mild laughs.

The direction is solid and the movie basically establishes a positive atmosphere. So it's no wonder, that the script is somewhat predictable. How could there be no Happy End, and so the only question remaining is how the two get together, eventually.
Hyung-tae is the only one knowing about the real identities of the virtual characters, thus the movie gets an additional story level. Everything he says has a twofold meaning, and the picture that Byulee draws of him is also quite interesting.
All in all, the story is told pretty nice and with an eye for details, but at its heart it's nothing new.

"Who are you" is a drama without feeling like one, and a romance without really being one. For this the movie has to get some credit. The credible characters also add to a positive overall picture, it's just that the movie has to struggle with its typical predictability of the romantic story.
It's also questionable why the movie couldn't have been shortened a little bit. It wouldn't have caused any harm, anyway.
One real sore point remains, though. Even if the characters are portrayed quite good on their own, there is no convincing chemistry between them. Maybe that's only my humble opinion, but something just seemed to be missing.
At it's bottom line "Who are you" is for sure one of the better romances, and even if it has some weak points it can be recommended with a clean conscience to fans of the genre as well as to non-fans, as it will most likely guarantee for a nice movie evening.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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